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Watch Manager Dave Coss Honoured in Queen's Birthday Honours List

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Watch Manager Honoured in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Watch Manager, Dave Coss, has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, receiving the prestigious Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM) for distinguished service.

WM Coss is a Fire Investigator working as part of the Prevention and Inclusion Department based at the Service’s Derbyshire Headquarters.  He is the Regional Fire Investigation Dog Handler for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service’s, currently working with Fire Investigation Dog Dexter.

Dave joined Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service in September 1992 and started his career as a Firefighter at Chesterfield Fire Station.  In 2001 he was promoted to Watch Manager and started working in the Fire Safety Department at Alfreton.  In September 2004 Dave started working with the Service’s first fire investigation dog Fudge, a faithful working dog who like her successors, Freckle and most recently Dexter, have worked with Dave on some of the highest profile fire investigations across the East Midlands.

Dave is no stranger to the witness box, and his work and the evidence he has provided has been instrumental in securing many convictions, often in complex and protracted cases. His dedication to his role and aspiration to improve fire safety was taken a step further in 2012 when he began research into smoke alarms and whether children woke to their sound.

In July 2016, Dave was presented to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh at the opening of the Leverhume Research Centre for Forensic Science, at The University of Dundee, where Dave was carrying out research, as part of a PHD, in collaboration with the University. The research project was looking into the sound of smoke alarms and how different ages and genders of children reacted to their sound. 

Speaking following the announcement of the award, Dave said: “It’s a great honour to receive the Queen’s Fire Service Medal and it came as a total surprise.  It’s been a tough job to keep it quiet, so I’ve probably got a lot of explaining to do now. 

“Together everyone working in the UK fire and rescue service strives to reduce the number of deaths and injuries as a result of fire and my research is just one aspect of that aim.  I hope my research has warned parents that should a fire break out in their home, as their children will probably sleep through the sounding alarm, then they must go to their rooms to wake them and then evacuate the house together.

“I’m privileged to have an amazing job, working with dedicated people for a foreword thinking and innovative fire and rescue service.  I’d like to thank the Service and everyone I work with, past and present, and of course my family, all of whom have provided unwavering support throughout my fire service career and also during the many months of research. 

“When I started my research, my aim was to improve fire safety in the home, it was never about recognition, so I’m incredibly humbled to have been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen.  I really am blown away.”

Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Terry McDermott said: “We are all incredibly proud of Dave for being honoured by Her Majesty The Queen for his dedication to fire safety. 

“It’s often a joke in the Service that Dexter, the fire investigation dog that currently works alongside Dave, always gets all the attention, but on this occasion Dave is well and truly in the spotlight, and rightly so.  Sadly like many others working in the fire and rescue service, Dave has witnessed numerous fatal fires.  To witness any fatal fire is catastrophic, so to use his knowledge and experience as a catalyst to go on to improve the safety and chances of survival in a fire is both praiseworthy and commendable.”